US Creates New Software Tool to Predict Actions That Could Draw China’s Wrath

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Band Mike Stone

HONOLULU, Hawaii, December 15 (Reuters)US military commanders in the Pacific have built a software tool to predict how the Chinese government will react to US actions in the region like military sales, US-backed military activities and even congressional visits to hotspots like Taiwan.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was briefed on the new tool during a visit to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii on Tuesday.

“With the spectrum of conflict and challenges stretching into the gray area. What you see is the need to look at a much larger set of indicators, weave them together, and then understand threat interaction,” Hicks said in an interview. aboard a military plane en route to California.

The tool calculates “strategic frictions”, a defense official said. It examines data from the start of 2020 and assesses significant activities that have impacted US-China relations. The computerized system will help the Pentagon predict whether certain actions will provoke an outsized Chinese reaction.

In October, the Chinese military condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship to the Taiwan Strait, saying they threatened peace and stability in the region. The incident and others like it have fueled demand for the tool, the US official said, to ensure the US doesn’t inadvertently upset China with its actions.

With US-China relations already at an all-time low, the tool provides visibility into a variety of activities such as congressional visits to Taiwan, arms sales to allies in the region or when multiple U.S. ships sailing through the Taiwan Strait might provoke an outsized or unintended Chinese response.

China claims to democratically rule Taiwan as its own territory and has staged repeated air force missions to Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the past year, sparking anger in Taipei.

The new software will allow US officials to anticipate planned actions up to four months in advance, the official said.

Hicks is touring US bases this week as the Biden administration’s 2023 budget proposal takes shape. The Department of Defense hopes to shift budget funds to a military that can deter China and Russia.

(Reporting by Mike Stone in Honolulu Editing by Matthew Lewis and Michael Perry)

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